Today my heart grieves for our nation. I see pain on two fronts, causing separation where unity should be.
On the one side I hear the cry that “Black Lives Matter.” And although I am not black, I feel that I have a relatable story that makes their cry more understandable to me. As an Asian American I know what it’s like to be in the minority. My people do have a history of being mistreated, spoken down to, and imprisoned for no reason in the United States.
At an early age I learned that to be called a “chink” was a bad word. I’ve been made fun of for my “squinty eyes” and yellow skin. In short, I’ve been treated as a second class citizen.
On the other side though, I see the frustration of the police. While most officers have a genuine desire to protect and serve the people; social media, protestors, and insensitive others have placed a blanket label of corruption on them.
Yes, some have been and are corrupt, but most are honest and fair. I am not in law enforcement, but I am in leadership. To some extent I have felt what it’s like to be blamed, disliked, and untrusted, even though I was doing my best to serve. So my heart goes out to the police as well. This week, there have been losses on both sides, and our nation grieves.
All of this leaves me with one simple question, can we please have peace?
The thing about peace though, is that in order to achieve it, it always comes at a cost to you. If you have been wronged, either justly or unjustly, to have peace you have to crucify your feelings, your hurts, and your circumstances in order to maintain unity.
The problem is that today people are so fed up, they are no longer willing to try. One side feels the weight of a long history of injustice and abuse, and another side feels the weight of unjust labels for doing their job.
Now, I haven't lived long enough to truly experience the pain of injustice, but in the Scriptures I find someone who has: Jesus Christ. Our Lord Jesus was born into a society who for centuries experienced being hostilely taken over. His people were ruled by an empire they didn’t want, forced to submit to a governor who didn’t care about them, and extorted by the soldiers who were meant to protect them (cf. Lk 3:14).
What’s more, on the night that Jesus was betrayed, he was falsely accused of doing wrong (Mk 14:56), mocked and beaten (Mk 15:20; Lk 22:63), and crucified (Matt. 27:32-44). Most of all, on the cross, Christ experienced the eternal punishment of God against sinners, even though he himself was sinless (2 Cor. 5:21).
No person in history has ever experienced a greater injustice than Jesus Christ. Yet, when it came to Roman authority and when it came to being wrongfully treated, he reacted submissively, faithfully, and peacefully.
Even though everywhere Christ turned, there was injustice and abuse of power, he submitted to authority. He did not refuse to obey the law (Lk 20:22-25). Neither did he fight back at his wrongful arrest, even when he had the ability to (Matt. 26:50-56). Instead, he submitted to the ruling authority at that time. Even though his death on the cross was unjust, Jesus did not retaliate, but entrusted himself to the Lord. 1 Pet. 2:22-23 says, “He [Jesus] committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” Even though he was not a violent man, when violence came to him, he died for the sake of peace (Eph. 2:14).
I think that Jesus understands the situation Americans are in today. He knows what it’s like to be poor and feel like the ruling establishment is against you. He knows what it’s like to be in leadership, yet have the people screaming against you. Jesus was the Messiah, God’s chosen King, yet the people chanted, “Crucify him!” Jesus knows your pain.
However, in the gospel, Jesus not only died to show us how to live (and die) peacefully, but he also rose again to show us how God overcomes victoriously. His life, death, and resurrection shows that peace is a reward that’s possible. In Colossians 1:21-22 it says that we were considered enemies of God, but because of Christ’s sacrifice we are now at peace with him.
The road to peace is long, hard, and full of suffering, but those who take that road and persevere eventually experience it and God is glorified! So please, can we fight for peace?
This is my plea:
To the American citizen, let’s be like Christ. Do not retaliate. Do not fight back. Instead, entrust yourself to the Lord and watch Him work. This is not to say that you should never speak up. In the face of injustice I believe that the world needs to hear bold speech, but speak boldly with respect and control, not with a heart of violence. It’s also time to repent and think the best of our police officers, trusting them to protect us. The truth of the matter is that a vast majority of our police force is good. It’s time to stop treating them like they’re not.
To the police officer in America, please lead like Christ. I know that many of you are. Do not show added aggression, have patience, and be sensitive to people’s pain. Christ knows what it’s like to be hated, yet instead of retaliating he entrusted himself to God which ultimately resulted in peace.
I believe that if our nation lives like this we will see peace again. So please, can we have peace?